From the opening credits that feature interlocking fashion blocks with Patti Labelle wailing over the titles to the The Euryhtmics song playing over the end credits, while the two lead actors have a fake fight, you can only feel like you are OUTRAGEOUS!!
Penned by Leslie Dixon, the screenplay weaves a magical tale of blaring plot devices, over the top action sequences and two dueling divas. It's like Beaches on steroids. It's Outrageous Fortune. The action film for gays and moms!!!
Arthur Hiller has always skated around making a hit movie. He even directed the now classic piece of gay cinema, MAKING LOVE. But nothing really ever seemed to stick. That was because he never did a film centered around two divas! And what happened? He nailed it and got a hit movie! Sure it is a paint by numbers film, but Shelley Long and Bette Midler play it to the hilt and really have good chemistry. In the first 20 minutes during some unexpected character building, we see Shelley Long at fencing class, being able to leap the furthest in ballet class and really stink at faking a death scene in acting class. We also get to see Bette Midler scream at just about everyone she comes in contact with and gnaw at every bit of scenery she can get her teeth into. You don't even have to pay close attention to know that all of this will come back somewhere in the film. I kinda wish there was a big red arrow pointing and flashing each time a plot device was happening...but alas. Thankfully, in 1987, they were still making comedies for adults to go see and this film is filthy. It is loaded with dirty talk, swear words, penis jokes and even a hot and steamy fried chicken sex scene between Shelley Long and Peter Coyote.
After Shelley sees her boyfriend, played by Coyote, blown to bits and she delivers one of the best hardcore screams in a film EVER, she learns that he was two timing her with Bette Midler, her nemesis and basic thorn in her side. The two join forces when they both discover that the man in the morgue is NOT their boyfriend( size really does matter when it comes to ID'ing a corpse) and go on a high octane adventure to find out which one of the screeching banshees he loves the most.
Unknown to the gals, the CIA is following them and one of the CIA guys calls it when he looks out the window of his surveillance truck and sees the two ladies having a slap fight and says, "Talk about ding-bats!"
Lots of running, screaming, shooting guns, impersonating cops and general high adventure follows the two as they search for their dream man. But everything changes when they finally catch up with him and he says that he doesn't love either one of them and that he has got them involved in a plot to unleash a chemical called FloraToxic and wipe out the entire state of California. DO WHAT?!!! Wasn't expecting that now were you? HIGH OCTANE!! The ladies learn a little about themselves and form a sisterhood that no man can break and they decide to save the world! GIT IT GIRLS!!!
OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE really benefits from its use of filming on the real streets of NYC and in the desert of New Mexico. It gives the film a grittiness that you don't expect from a film like this and I must say, this film has some of the hardest working stunt doubles EVER! I think about 75% of the movie is stunt doubles and they go full throttle and do a great job of always covering their faces. They even do the scenes of the ladies just arriving to a spot in a cab. Hats off!
By the end of the movie, all the plot devices you saw being developed in the first 20 minutes of the film have all been exhausted to various degrees of execution and the world is save from FloraToxic. Shelley Long graduates from the Royal Academy of Shakespearean Weirdness and Bette Midler learns who Hamlet is.
Outrageous Fortune moves at a neck breaking speed and the two ladies are such fun to watch that you almost hate the movie when George Carlin shows up as a drunk field guide. The movie is on this crazy snowball roll down a hill and Carlin kinda slows it up for about 20 minutes. But you do get to see the girls shop in a ye olde time general store and find form fitting outfits with matching shoes!
It's a pretty safe bet, that Long and Midler hated each others guts while making this film, but it works to their benefit, because the energy between them sizzles. Sadly, there was never a sequel made.....
A true diva action film!
Both Shelley Long and Bette Midler were promised top billing when they signed to do the film. Neither one wanted to give up top billing to the other. So west of the Mississippi River, Long got top billing and Midler got top billing east of the Mississippi.